Archuleta County – The Pagosa Springs SUN http://www.pagosasun.com The most trusted source for news and information about Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Thu, 14 Nov 2019 19:22:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.4 Dispatch board tweaks budget, talks E-911 surcharge and possible move http://www.pagosasun.com/dispatch-board-tweaks-budget-talks-e-911-surcharge-and-possible-move/ Thu, 14 Nov 2019 22:00:45 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=191187 At its meeting on Nov. 4, the Dispatch Executive Management Board voted to tweak its budget and continued to debate options for moving the dispatch center next year, among other things.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

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BoCC authorizes eminent domain, tables liquor decision at regular meeting http://www.pagosasun.com/bocc-authorizes-eminent-domain-tables-liquor-decision-at-regular-meeting/ Thu, 14 Nov 2019 22:00:26 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=191185 In its first regular meeting in nearly a month, the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) voted Tuesday to use eminent domain to gain access to a communications tower and ratified a signature on a grant application for funds to build a new courthouse, among other things.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

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BoCC votes to approve noise ordinance http://www.pagosasun.com/bocc-votes-to-approve-noise-ordinance/ Thu, 14 Nov 2019 22:00:20 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=191240 At its meeting on Tuesday, the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) voted to approve the second and final reading of the county’s revised noise ordinance.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

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Public Meetings http://www.pagosasun.com/public-meetings-197/ Thu, 14 Nov 2019 22:00:08 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=191172 The following meetings are subject to change.
Thursday, Nov. 14
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners special work session — 2020 budget departmental review. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Pagosa Springs Town Council budget work session. 5 p.m., Town Hall council chambers, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Tuesday, Nov. 19
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners regular meeting. 1:30 p.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta School District Board of Education special meeting. 5 p.m., Pagosa Springs Middle School library, 309 Lewis St.
Upper San Juan Health Service District regular board meeting. 5:30 p.m., Pagosa Springs Medical Center Great Room, 95 S. Pagosa Blvd.
Wednesday, Nov. 20
Town of Pagosa Springs Historic Preservation Board work session. 9 a.m., Pagosa Baking Company, 238 Pagosa St.
Archuleta County Republican Central Committee meeting. Noon, Pagosa Brewing, 118 N. Pagosa Blvd.
Upper San Juan Library District board meeting. 4 p.m., Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library, 811 San Juan St.
Thursday, Nov. 21
Pagosa Springs Town Council meeting. 5 p.m., Town Hall council chambers, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Tuesday, Nov. 26
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Town Planning Commission, Board of Adjustments and Design Review Board. 5:30 p.m., Town Hall council chambers, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Tuesday, Dec. 3
Pagosa Springs Town Council meeting. 5 p.m., Town Hall council chambers, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Dec. 4-8
Archuleta School District 50 Joint Board of Education notice of gathering. The board will be traveling to Colorado Springs to attend the annual Colorado Association of School Boards conference.
Wednesday, Dec. 4
Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation regular board meeting. 5:30 p.m., Chamber of Commerce conference room, 105 Hot Springs Blvd.
Monday, Dec. 9
Pagosa Peak Open School Board of Directors regular meeting. 5 p.m., 7 Parelli Way.
Public meeting information should be sent to editor@pagosasun.com with “Public Meeting” in the subject line. The deadline is noon Monday each week prior to publication for that week’s issue.

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Judge makes preliminary findings that BoCC made decisions behind closed doors http://www.pagosasun.com/judge-makes-preliminary-findings-that-bocc-made-decisions-behind-closed-doors/ Thu, 14 Nov 2019 11:58:47 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=191151 A Nov. 3 court order from Sixth Judicial district Chief Judge Jeffrey Wilson makes a preliminary finding that the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) made policy decisions during executive session earlier this year that should have been in made in public.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

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New cell tower will enhance coverage, emergency communication http://www.pagosasun.com/new-cell-tower-will-enhance-coverage-emergency-communication/ Wed, 13 Nov 2019 12:00:38 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=190624 A new AT&T cellphone tower is set to be constructed on Bastille Drive after the Archuleta County commissioners and the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association (PLPOA) both approved the project in recent months.
Construction is expected to begin in January or February and will be completed around March, according to Justin Causey, land use planner for Md7, a consulting firm that “handles everything up until construction” for cellphone towers and is contracted through AT&T.
In addition to boosting AT&T cell coverage in the area (other cell providers have the option to colocate equipment on the tower), the tower will also house equipment for the FirstNet Emergency Responders Network, a first for Archuleta County.
Causey explained that the FirstNet equipment on the tower allows emergency first responders to communicate on an entirely separate bandwidth from what regular cellphones use, so communication is perpetually intact for emergency personnel, even if the tower is bogged down with a high caller volume.
“The FCC [Federal Communications Commission] released this bandwidth that only emergency responders can operate on. So, the equipment that we put up for FirstNet is solely going to be used by first responders,” said Causey. “They have a separate bandwidth that only first responders would have the equipment to operate within that, so it doesn’t have to fight for that coverage … They’ll have their own network that they’re operating on.”
AT&T was awarded the multi-billion dollar contract to build and maintain FirstNet last year and is spending about $40 billion on the project.
FirstNet was proposed by the federal 911 Commission over a decade ago, following first responder communication failures after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
According to the application submitted to the county, the tower is proposed to be 90 feet tall, and the board of county commissioners granted a variance from the normal commercial zone height limit of 40 feet above grade.
Causey noted that former Archuleta County Planning Manager John Shepard suggested a higher tower with colocation opportunities so as to reduce the total number of towers in the county.
Archuleta County Undersheriff Derek Woodman highlighted some of the other benefits of FirstNet in a phone call Tuesday.
“If we have an event that there is no cell coverage, say we have a big fire and in an isolated area and we need cell coverage up there, they are mandated to provide, within 14 hours of the call, provide a cell tower on wheels, a portable cell tower … That’s part of the federal mandate and they have to abide by it,” explained Woodman.
Woodman also explained that a Push-To-Talk feature of FirstNet allows emergency personnel to communicate even with limited to no cellphone coverage.
“It acts more like a walkie-talkie than it does a cellphone,” Causey said of Push-To-Talk in a phone call, noting that it doesn’t need sustained coverage to keep a communication channel open.
“I am in favor of the new tower and think that it will fill in some holes that we have with AT&T,” said Pagosa Fire Protection District Chief Randy Larson in an email.
Pagosa Springs Town Manager Andrea Phillips also offered her support for the tower.
“I’m excited about additional tower infrastructure being installed in the community. It will help the first response network and also our day to day cellular services,” Phillips wrote in an email.
Causey explained the best service from the tower will be around the Pagosa Lakes area uptown, though it will improve service from uptown to downtown and north to near the Hinsdale County line.
Causey explained that his firm is looking to apply for a building permit near the end of November or early December.
“From there I want to say AT&T is probably going to move on this one pretty fast,” Causey said, noting that construction would start in January or February and will take about a month to complete.
john@pagosasun.com

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Health insurance change for county employees to take effect Jan. 1, 2020 http://www.pagosasun.com/health-insurance-change-for-county-employees-to-take-effect-jan-1-2020/ Tue, 12 Nov 2019 12:00:04 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=190606 The Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously at its Oct. 15 meeting to change providers for county employees’ health benefits.
The change will affect county employees’ “medical, prescription, dental, vision, group life and AD&D [accidental death and dismemberment] along with voluntary benefits,” Archuleta County Human Resources Administrator Robert Smith wrote in an email.
The changes will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
Smith explained to The SUN last week that the county’s previous health provider, County Technical Services Inc. (CTSI), was hitting the county with a 6 percent increase for its health insurance premiums, and the county commissioners asked Smith to put the health plan out to bid.
“So, I did,” explained Smith, adding, “Had we stayed with CTSI, the county would have been forced into taking the 6 percent rate increase and either absorbing that total cost upon the county or sharing part of that cost with the employees.”
The county will save about $104,000 with the new plan, explained Smith.
Smith reported the plan coverages are generally the same, with some coverages being a little better than under the previous plan and some of the coverages being a little bit worse.
“All in all, in my opinion, it’s going to come out a real good deal for the county and the employees,” Smith said.
Smith explained the new plan offers freedoms the previous CTSI plan did not. For example, Smith can now take out the county’s insurance plan out to bid each year to find better rates — something that was prohibited with CTSI.
The new plan is also a “level funded plan,” which makes the county eligible for money back at the end of the year.
“The plan design is called a level funded plan, and what that means is that every insurance company when they rate a provider, or employer, they estimate what their total cost of claims is going to be … they price the premiums accordingly,” Smith said.
Smith explained that if Archuleta County comes in below the “maximum expected loss,” the insurance company will split the money 50/50 with the county.
“[The county] can put it into future premiums, future employee benefit costs, things of that nature, to help offset potential increases,” Smith said.
At the commissioners’ work session on Oct. 15, Smith stressed that county employees need to submit any services with health professionals prior to the end of the year.
“[County employees must] understand that they absolutely have to make sure that any services that they are having now with doctors, providers of any kind, that those get submitted before the end of the year in order to be paid. ‘Cause if they don’t, CTSI won’t pay them out.”
County Administrator Scott Wall noted at the meeting that all the local health providers are included in the county’s new health plan.
The county’s previous provider was Anthem BlueCross BlueShield. The county’s new plan will include coverage under Cigna, set to begin on Jan. 1, 2020.

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Holiday Hoopla coming to Pagosa Country http://www.pagosasun.com/holiday-hoopla-coming-to-pagosa-country-2/ Sat, 09 Nov 2019 12:00:15 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=190620 Staff report
Archuleta County’s annual holiday shopping event is expanding this year. The extravaganza will run from Nov. 15 to Dec. 15 with local stores and restaurants holding holiday sales, specials, open houses and events.
Participating merchants will hand out Holiday Hoopla cards, which will be good for savings at participating restaurants and a chance to win prizes. Shoppers who spend at least $10 at any participating retail store will be entered into a drawing for prize packages.
Watch for special ads in the PREVIEW section of The Pagosa Springs SUN beginning Thursday, Nov. 14. Local businesses will be offering specials through the holidays for local shoppers and tourists alike.
This is a perfect opportunity to support our local businesses and see all the great products, clothing and gifts they have to offer.
For businesses interested in participating in the holiday marketing section, contact Advertising Manager Shari Pierce by calling 264-2100 or emailing shari@pagosasun.com.
If you sign up to advertise for all five weeks of the event, your business may be chosen to be featured on the cover of The PREVIEW.

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Public Meetings http://www.pagosasun.com/public-meetings-196/ Thu, 07 Nov 2019 22:00:44 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=190608 The following meetings are subject to change.
Thursday, Nov. 7
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners special work session — 2020 budget departmental review. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Monday, Nov. 11
Pagosa Peak Open School Board of Directors regular meeting. 5 p.m., 7 Parelli Way.
Tuesday, Nov. 12
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta County Republican Women’s meeting. Noon, Boss Hogg’s, 157 Navajo Trail Drive.
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners regular meeting. 1:30 p.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Pagosa Springs Area Tourism Board meeting. 4:30 p.m., Visitor Center, 105 Hot Springs Blvd.
Archuleta School District Board of Education work session and regular meeting. 5 p.m. work session, 6 p.m. regular meeting, Pagosa Springs Middle School library, 309 Lewis St.
Town Planning Commission, Board of Adjustments and Design Review Board. 5:30 p.m., Town Hall council chambers,  6:551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Record of the proceedings of the Public Hearing on the Proposed 2020 Budgets of the Pagosa Fire Protection District and the Firemen’s Pension Fund and the regular meeting of the Pagosa Fire Protection District Board of Directors.30 p.m., Station 1, Training Room, 191 N. Pagosa Blvd.
Wednesday, Nov. 13
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners special work session — 2020 budget departmental review. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta County Planning Commission regular meeting. 6 p.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Thursday, Nov. 14
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners special work session — 2020 budget departmental review. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Pagosa Springs Town Council budget work session. 5 p.m., Town Hall council chambers, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Tuesday, Nov. 19
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners regular meeting. 1:30 p.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Upper San Juan Health Service District regular board meeting. 5:30 p.m., Pagosa Springs Medical Center Great Room, 95 S. Pagosa Blvd.
Wednesday, Nov. 20
Archuleta County Republican Central Committee meeting. Noon, Pagosa Brewing, 118 N. Pagosa Blvd.
Upper San Juan Library District board meeting. 4 p.m., Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library, 811 San Juan St.
Thursday, Nov. 21
Pagosa Springs Town Council meeting. 5 p.m., Town Hall council chambers, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Tuesday, Nov. 26
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Dec. 4-8
Archuleta School District 50 Joint Board of Education Notice of Gathering. The board will be traveling to Colorado Springs to attend the annual Colorado Association of School Boards conference.
Wednesday, Dec. 4
Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation regular board meeting. 5:30 p.m., Chamber of Commerce conference room, 105 Hot Springs Blvd.
Monday, Dec. 9
Pagosa Peak Open School Board of Directors regular meeting. 5 p.m., 7 Parelli Way.
Public meeting information should be sent to editor@pagosasun.com with “Public Meeting” in the subject line. The deadline is noon Monday each week prior to publication for that week’s issue.

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Public Meetings http://www.pagosasun.com/public-meetings-195/ Thu, 31 Oct 2019 21:00:45 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=190216 The following meetings are subject to change.
Monday, Nov. 4
Dispatch Executive Management Board. 9:30 a.m., Pagosa Springs Medical Center board room, 95 S. Pagosa Blvd.
Tuesday, Nov. 5
San Juan Basin Public Health and District Attorney Budget meetings. Noon (includes travel time), Durango County Administration Building, 1101 E. 2nd Ave., Durango.
Pagosa Springs Town Council meeting. 5 p.m., Ross Aragon Community Center, 451 Hot Springs Blvd.
Wednesday, Nov. 6
Pagosa Peak Open School Board training. 8 a.m., Pagosa Brewing and Grill, 118 N. Pagosa Blvd.
Town of Pagosa Springs Historic Preservation Board special meeting. 4:30 p.m., Town Hall conference room, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Thursday, Nov. 7
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners special work session — 2020 budget departmental review. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Monday, Nov. 11
Pagosa Peak Open School Board of Directors regular meeting. 5 p.m., 7 Parelli Way.
Tuesday, Nov. 12
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta County Republican Women’s meeting. Noon, Boss Hogg’s, 157 Navajo Trail Drive.
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners regular meeting. 1:30 p.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta School District Board of Education work session and regular meeting. 5 p.m. work session, 6 p.m. regular meeting, Pagosa Springs Middle School library, 309 Lewis St.
Town Planning Commission, Board of Adjustments and Design Review Board. 5:30 p.m., Town Hall council chambers, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Record of the proceedings of the Public Hearing on the Proposed 2020 Budgets of the Pagosa Fire Protection District and the Firemen’s Pension Fund and the regular meeting of the Pagosa Fire Protection District Board of Directors. 6:30 p.m., Station 1, Training Room, 191 N. Pagosa Blvd.
Wednesday, Nov. 13
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners special work session — 2020 budget departmental review. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta County Planning Commission regular meeting. 6 p.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Thursday, Nov. 14
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners special work session — 2020 budget departmental review. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Pagosa Springs Town Council budget work session. 5 p.m., Town Hall council chambers, 551 Hot Springs Blvd.
Tuesday, Nov. 19
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners regular meeting. 1:30 p.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Upper San Juan Health Service District regular board meeting. 5:30 p.m., Pagosa Springs Medical Center Great Room, 95 S. Pagosa Blvd.
Wednesday, Nov. 20
Archuleta County Republican Central Committee meeting. Noon, Pagosa Brewing, 118 N. Pagosa Blvd.
Upper San Juan Library District board meeting. 4 p.m., Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library, 811 San Juan St.
Tuesday, Nov. 26
Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners work session. 8:30 a.m., Archuleta County administration building, commissioners’ meeting room, 398 Lewis St.
Dec. 4-8
Archuleta School District 50 Joint Board of Education Notice of Gathering. The board will be traveling to Colorado Springs to attend the annual Colorado Association of School Boards conference.
Public meeting information should be sent to editor@pagosasun.com with “Public Meeting” in the subject line. The deadline is noon Monday each week prior to publication for that week’s issue.

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